The most successful “webcomic” I’ve ever done (from the perspective of longevity and frequency of updates) was Doodle-A-Day. Really, it was more of a sketch diary than a webcomic . . . but I’m not even sure how much details like that matter to ordinary folks. The point is that I managed to keep that site up and running, with a steady stream of content, for longer than any other web-based project (including, by some measures, this blog).
Every day from October 29, 2006 until April 16, 2010, I posted at least one image from my sketch pads. Sometimes they were just random figures, or even just shapes. Other times they were character studies or warm-up drawings of characters from projects I was working on. Yet other times they were concepts for single (or multiple) panel comics … a good number of which were eventually rendered in full as 10’x10′ Toons.
All of this was made possible by the messed up way my brain works.
You see, I learn better by listening rather than looking. So when I have new or important information to process, I actually do a better job of processing and, even more important, remembering it if I focus my eyes on something else and concentrate on listening to what’s going on around me. It’s been true all of my life—much to the consternation of teachers throughout my primary and secondary education (not to mention classmates who wanted to borrow my notes).
When I was working at TSR, Wizards of the Coast, and Upper Deck Entertainment, I had A LOT of meetings to attend, all of them at least nominally important. Generally, it was important that I be able to keep the information at my fingertips since my teams were, generally, the ones at the hubs of projects—often being the conduit through which work flowed. We were often the only ones who were CAPABLE of knowing when other teams’ work could impact (or even derail) work from other teams.
All of those meetings meant that I generated A LOT of doodles. And when the meetings were done, I’d often be asked to pass around my notebook so that everyone could see what bits of fancy I’d scribbled out. And when I got back to my desk, my co-workers often wanted to see, too. Eventually, I decided to just start scanning the sketches and posting them online . . . and THAT’S how Doodle-A-Day was born.
In the end, I stopped updating Doodle-A-Day because, after more than a thousand uninterrupted days, I was running out of material. You see, when I wasn’t working at a job that focused on project management and required lots of meetings, my doodle output dropped off precipitously. For a while, I would schedule “doodle time” for myself—whole mornings or afternoons when my “job” was to sit in a cafe and scribble out enough doodles to keep the site going for another week or two. Eventually, that practice began interfering with my work on actual freelance projects, so I decided that if I couldn’t produce the doodles “organically” then it was time to just let the project go.
That was nearly five years ago, and I’ve been thinking a lot about Doodle-A-Day and all the ancillary concepts and artwork it gave me . . . and I really miss it. I’m considering the possibility of reviving Doodle-A-Day . . . maybe under a different title . . . maybe as a Tumblr rather than a blog or a webcomic . . . maybe containing a mixture of new doodles and “re-runs” (I’m certainly NOT producing enough doodles currently to keep up with daily updates) . . . maybe even featuring a combination of sketches and finished art.
I don’t know. We’ll see.
Anyway, although I gave up the old URL for Doodle-A-Day several years ago, you can still see the whole 1,000+ image run on Livejournal, if you’re curious.